St. Louis, Missouri, USA -- January 1996: Data Research Associates Inc. (DRA) announced today that the Electronic Information Network (EIN) consortium of Allegheny County public libraries has selected DRA. With its Data Research System, EIN is establishing a union catalog of approximately 1.5 million titles, providing a frame relay Wide Area Network (WAN) at 60 locations, and offering additional library automation services for its members.
"We chose DRA because it can give us the flexibility we need to let each member maintain autonomy," says Andrea Sardone, EIN Operations Manager, "and because we believe in DRA's move to the client/server future." She notes that EIN is purchasing 1,100 PC workstations (no character-cell terminals), and that all of its PAC stations will have a World Wide Web client interface. Its goal is to provide full Internet access to all patrons and staff. "Everywhere you look now, you see Web addresses. We are first and foremost libraries; we really stand by the fact that we distribute information for free."
As Robert Croneberger, Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has said, "Libraries will provide the public transportation on the information superhighway."
EIN is a joint project governed by the Commission on the Future of Libraries in Allegheny County, the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA), and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Its system and EIN staff will be centered at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. EIN's total membership comprises the county's 40 public libraries, plus Carnegie Library's 18 branch libraries.
Level of participation by each library will vary. Carnegie Library will be converting from its existing ULISYS system to EIN's Data Research System. The upgraded system includes several components of DRA's new client/server technology -- DRA Find, DRA Web and Open DRA Net. Ten members also are converting from their library automation systems to EIN's Data Research System; five members are planning to establish Z39.50 connections to EIN's system from their existing library automation systems; and the remaining 25 members are automating for the first time with DRA software and services.
EIN already offers many informational resources via the first Free-Net owned and operated by a public library, the Three Rivers Free-Net (http://trfn.pgh.pa.us); and via Carnegie Library's home page (http://www.clpgh.org). Plans are under way to add home pages for its other library members soon. The consortium will be using DRA Web to create cataloged, MARC records, containing "clickable" links to its on-line resources, including a growing 1,200-image database of scanned historic Pittsburgh photographs.
Sardone credits impetus for the EIN project to County Controller Frank Lucchino, who has taken a special interest in the area's libraries. After Lucchino commissioned a study entitled "The Quiet Crisis" to look at library services in the area, it was determined that a cooperative effort between the county's more than 120 municipalities would help address many of the library service gaps that existed. "This huge, unprecedented effort to bring all of our independently run libraries together in a resource-sharing consortium is just incredible. The EIN is creating a countywide library system that we never had before."
DRA, headquartered in St. Louis, is a leading systems integrator for libraries and other information providers, offering its own proprietary information services software; third-party software and hardware; Internet, World Wide Web and other networking services; and other related support services. Its World Wide Web page is located at http://www.dra.com.